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Human trafficking attacked

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By USA Today
Sunday, March 3, 2013, 9:36 p.m.
 

A wave of efforts to stop human trafficking has spread across the country as lawmakers and others look to combat the problem through law, policy and grass-roots activism.

Although approaches vary, advocates say more must be done to stop the crime, dubbed “modern-day slavery” and defined by the State Department as the recruitment, transportation or harboring of people by means of deception or coercion. Victims, often mentally and physically abused, are being forced into prostitution, unfair working conditions or other exploitative situations.

“Consciousness and outrage have reached a different level because of the perverseness but also the impact of human trafficking,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. “People understand that everyone has a responsibility to fight human trafficking and every individual can have an impact.”

Cases of traffickers recruiting students at U.S. schools, selling sex online and in hotels and operating slave enterprises alongside everyday life have led to increased awareness.

Two lawmakers in Maryland last month announced plans to toughen state laws on trafficking, joining a long list of people around the country working to make the crime in the United States a central topic of 2013.

Blumenthal and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, began the U.S. Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking in November and sponsored a bill that later became law to prevent federal contracts from going to companies that benefit from forms of trafficking.

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